You wanna know why this WikiLeaks scandal is such a D.C. panic fest? Hmm? Do ya wanna know why even an administration whose general position on the political spectrum has had me giddy with relief, enthusiasm, hope and optimism, is yet just as prone as their crimson-hued counterparts to the “cover thy ass” circling of wagons, spin and “damage control” that is the fall-out of the public disclosure of “sensitive” communications?
Because those who run Washington are just as human as every other person in America – and AT LEAST as driven to primal, parasympathetic self-preservation as all of humankind – the world over and throughout history.
“Yeah – so?”, I hear coming from the thought bubbles of more than one reader. Well, try as we might to deny this most instinctive tendency, we as a species, and each of us who comprise it, lean toward a Darwinian (forgive the anachronism, as Charles merely penned a theory that explains behavior that has occured from the moment this indescribably complex and intangible phenomenon called “life” first happened) selfishness that, morals and eternal souls be damned, surely embraces deception as a tactic of survival. Why, then, should we fear the consequences of exposing those thoughts and words of politicians who thought nobody was watching or listening? Those that were exchanged, sometimes literally, behind closed doors? Because those people we have elected to serve our interests are just like us. Because we don’t always behave honorably, honestly, or altruistically. And because these public servants, these politicians, are *just* *like* *US*.
And we’re liars. Some of us strive towards, and even usually achieve, an honesty and integrity that reflects a wholly internalized and ego-syntonic respect, even love for, the whole truth and nothing but the literal, radical, sometimes painful truth. But even THE most trustworthy and straight-up among us is tempted by drives that suit our own aesthetic, and biologic and emotional protection.
Whether it is to grease the proverbial wheels of business or politics, to put down an enemy in the emotional chinese food that is revenge (tastes damned good and fills you up – but two hours later you’re pining for some more), to achieve a desired end such as getting into the sack with some love interest, or even to avoid pain and conflict altogether, even at the expense of deeper guilt and regret that only comes after the social and emotional emergency has passed – whether it is for these or myriad permutations and proportions thereof, and including maybe other drives not herein articulated, humans lie.
The real question is: When are we going to be honest enough with ourselves to admit it? I’m hopeful that at the very least, this whole WikiLeaks event, a veritable diplomatic debacle, shines a light on the 800 pound elephant that has been in humanity’s living room since we first shared thoughts.
We, being sentient and verbal creatures, are perilously, and ironically, protectively vulnerable to the lure to deceive. People are animals. We are self-preserving. We lie. The problem is that we have “evolved” into a species and kingdom and human race that has been infected with the disease of want. This is what is behind absolutely everything we do that is beyond tending to our and our offsprings’ basic needs. We want stuff. Small stuff and grand stuff. Material possessions and immaterial status, power, position and grandure.
We want. And we have learned to deceive if it is a means to achieving the desired end – that is, *getting* what we want. We lie to advance in our careers. We lie to stay out of trouble with our parents, our family, our lovers, our bosses, and our government. We lie to get ahead of the other – the other team, the other worker, the other man/woman, the other candidate… …the other country.
The problem is that lying is not the way to get what we really want. It’s just sometimes the easiest. It avoids “awkward” moments and the catch-22s of otherwise mutually exclusive circumstances. But, it is always risky. And it is always short-sighted. And it is always wrong. Call it lying. Call it diplomacy. Potato/potahto.
Leaks don’t hurt diplomacy. “Diplomacy” hurts diplomacy.
Politics stinks. I for one welcome this virtual and viral clearing of the air.